We exist in a scientific era where the technological advancement is on a gallop. The rate of growth in the technology-assisted cosmos is perhaps on a all-time high and shows promise as the world becomes more and more connected and collaborative; and as per Alvin Toffler, truly a global village.
Women account for similar proportion both in the urban and rural sectors. It is therefore obvious that the progress of the country, or rather the rate of progress is dependent on the education, literacy and inclusion of women into the mainstream activities. However the traditions, societal and cultural norms of the country through a diversity of religion, region, castes etc. pose a challenge to this contemporary thought and thwart the impetus that may be required to extricate them from the societal shackles that they have been subjected to for centuries.
The girl child is often a neglected or ignored member in a patriarchal society that still has gender bias as a fabric of their very existence. There is an apparent discrimination in the upbringing and education of the girls in the rural areas, middle classes and the lower classes of the society. Female literacy is often ignored, as it is believed that the job of a woman is to procreate and care for the family, and often a thankless job. All family resources are lavished on the upbringing and education of the male members of the family, however undeserving they may be.
This is however not just a unique problem that India faces, but is common across all developing nations. As is evident from the well-known saying by the Ghanaian scholar Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey, ‘If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family’, the unqualified exaggeration is to encourage the society to recognize the importance of education for women. The word ‘family’ here may be interpreted as a ‘nation’.
An educated girl can become independent and self-sufficient. She can contribute to the welfare of the family and society. The rise in the standard of living is possible when women supplement the incomes of the males. National development is impossible without the wholehearted contribution and active participation of women.
From a policy perspective, there is a lot of focus on women literacy, education and empowerment in the country. However, unfortunately most of the programs fail to reach the critical mass to make a difference to the entire nation. There are a lot of non-governmental organizations that tow the line to try and make a difference at the grassroots. The existence of such agencies and their proliferation are critical to bring the voice of the nation to the forefront and to ensure them to be included in planning developmental strategies. A collaborative approach through discussions and conversations, along with partnership strategies from the public sector and the corporate world and surely provide the much needed impetus to the cause.